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Dance program garners second NEA grant

"Missa Brevis", L-R, Aaron McGloin, David Trujillo, Doug Baum, Andrew Balderamma

Photo by Tim Trumble.

November 28, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. – Herberger College Dance at Arizona State University received its second dance masterpieces grant in 2007 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. The annual award is given to select dance programs across the nation to pair professional dance artists with college students to reconstruct dances by notable choreographers and to share the work with the community beyond mere performance. As one of only 25 dance programs to receive the grant, ASU Herberger College Dance will use the $10,000 award to support the restaging of Doug Varone’s Cantata in fall 2008. Community programs will include performances in regional arts centers, conferences, workshops and lecture-demonstrations for schools.

“It is such an honor to be chosen from so many worthy organizations around the country to receive this prestigious award,” says Simon Dove, ASU Herberger College Dance chair. Dove left his position as director of the international contemporary dance festival, Springdance, in Utrecht, Netherlands to become chair of ASU Herberger College Dance in August, 2007. “To receive it for a second year truly is a testament to our program’s commitment to contemporary dance,” he says.

ASU Herberger College Dance received its first dance masterpiece grant in 2006 to reconstruct José Limón’s masterpiece, Missa Brevis, on the 50th anniversary of its creation. The award allowed Herberger College dance students to work with renowned Limón dancer, Nina Watt, on the piece that was performed in April 2007.

The project developed into a lasting partnership. Watt, recognized as “a perfect Limón dancer” by The New York Times, and a 30-year veteran of the Limón Dance Company, continues to serve as ASU Herberger College Dance visiting faculty.

“José lived through his art. He said, ‘To me, the theatre is a temple.’ For that reason, I want to continue to do Missa,” Watt says. “It is gift to me and I know what a wonderful experience it has been for the students. I want to help them find their gift, as José helped me.”

Herberger College Dance is a division of the Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University. Dance Teacher magazine says, “the top-notch dance program graduates dancers who aren’t merely accomplished technicians, but critical thinkers and socially conscious advocates of the art form as well.” To learn more, visit 

Public Contact: 
Laura Toussaint-Newkirk 

Media Contact:
Laura Toussaint-Newkirk